Syrian Kurds Plan to Declare Autonomy in Manbij at the Risk of Angering Turkey

Syria (Sputnik) – The Democratic Union Party (PYD), one of the leading Kurdish political forces in Syria, has indicated that it plans to establish a “democratic autonomous administration” in Manbij, which made headlines last week when Russia and the United States tried to prevent Turkish-led forces and the Syrian Kurds from clashing over the city.

Ewwas Eli, a senior member of the PYD responsible for foreign relations of the party’s branch in Kobani, told Sputnik Turkey that the administration has not been created so far, but it will be ready to operate in the near future.

“Thirteen people will be in charge of the administration,” he said. “I am not aware when the Autonomous Administration of Manbij is created. I met with the chair of the administration and its members yesterday during my visit to the city. Preliminary activities with regard to declaring autonomy are drawing to a close.”

The autonomous administration will be reportedly made up of 71 Arabs, 43 Kurds, ten Turkmen, eight Circassians, an Armenian and a Chechen. The new body will be run by a delegation comprising thirteen people, who will have four deputies., Public Domain,

By Scott Bobb – Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Manbij, a strategically-located city in northern Syria, had been under Daesh’s control from January 2014 until August 2016 when the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pushed the brutal group out of the city following a two-month-long offensive. The SDF then established the Manbij Military Council to provide security to, and administer, the embattled city, much to Turkey’s discontent.

High-ranking Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have repeatedly said that Manbij will be the next target in the Ankara-led Operation Euphrates Shield, a military operation aimed at pushing Daesh out of northern Syrian and preventing the Kurds from establishing a contiguous autonomous region in the area.

In October 2015, the Syrian Kurds declared autonomous rule in Tell Abyad, a city located in the Raqqa province on the border with Turkey.

This report prepared by Sputnik.